Growing Hospital Merger and Acquisition Activity and its Impact on OR Systems

Hard for us to believe, but we are entering our 12th year in business – over the past 11 years our services have grown and evolved as healthcare IT has progressed. Our team of experts started out providing mostly surgical and anesthesia information system selection and implementation support and then moved - along with our clients - through their upgrades. While the upgrades continue to occur year after year (as do the occasional surgery and anesthesia information system selections) we have been increasingly busy in the area of system conversions, and data/workflow and data assessments.

What are the key drivers increasing this activity?

  • Legacy system is no longer supported
  • Hospitals / health systems choose to go from best of breed to enterprise-wide systems (or vice-versa); and
  • (perhaps less obvious) Mergers and acquisitions . . .

Based on the abundant healthcare merger and acquisition news and future trends, we expect that most of our current and future clients will be somehow impacted by this trend whether they are the merged, acquirer, or the acquired. Regardless of which role our clients fall into, the activity typically brings new processes, strategies, responsibilities, integration challenges, levels of scalability and monthly reports.

While this activity is daunting and stressful, the transition does provide a tremendous opportunity for standardization. These mergers and acquisitions – as well as increasing government regulations- are compelling organizations to share information with their new partners and to do so in a meaningful way. 

Regardless of whether or not this activity leads to a surgical information system conversion, the following are some recommendations to leverage the benefits that such a transition can bring, should you (or when you) find yourself in the middle of this activity: 

  • Conduct an assessment of workflow and data capture; compare/contrast processes, reports and information sharing across all sites.  It is amazing what you can learn.
  • Use the opportunity to adopt standard terminology and language across all sites for more valuable data analysis.  Key metrics to focus on include:
    • Financial Metrics (cost per case, overtime, inventory turns, etc.)
    • Operational performance metrics (i.e. case volume, prime time utilization, block utilization, on-time starts, cancellations, turn overs, etc.)
    • Quality Metrics (SCIP, Meaningful Use, etc.)
  • Hold monthly calls / quarterly meetings with your peers at the other sites to share information (yes, even financial and operational metrics!)
  • Consider outside expertise to facilitate the workflow and data assessments and/or the initial system-wide meetings.  Not only does the outside expertise provide a neutral assessment, but also can provide proven recommendations for moving forward as one larger, more cohesive organization.
  • Rely on experts to perform the painful and "one-off" projects that will provide a lot of "bang for the buck" such as database merge, procedure file clean up, charge master review, etc.

These recommendations may sound obvious… but we continue to be amazed at how little attention is paid to these areas post-merger/acquisition despite the significant benefits that can be achieved and the value that perioperative services bring to an organization as a whole. Good luck and make the most of the journey!